The Hero: An NPC, well known and respected not only by the PCs but by the public as well, a mightly warrior who has served as a teacher, and instructor, and otherwise friend and mentor to the PCs. He has lived a good life, not so long as some some, but certainly not cut short. He has had but one regret, that he will seemingly be laid to rest in the cemetary/crypt/mausoleum of the city, something he doesnt wish. He wishe to be buried beneath the Willow.
Note: If the PCs need further reason to perform the task other than the bond of friendship (ingrates) perhaps his will grants them some wicked loot, either a large amount of money each, magical items, such and such, and only if they complete the task will they gain their reward.
Beneath the Willow: The land of the Willow is a sacred place, removed from the concerns of humans and wars (This does not mean it is chock-full of elves). In the days of myth and legend, many heros would come through the land of willows and recieve a great blessing, or visitation from a higher power. Many adventurers who go a questing first stop in the valley and make a ceremonial gesture as many knights would bequeath a sword to a lake in memory of Excaliber/Caliburn and Arthur before leaving on their quests and adventures.
There are several great stone caerns, burial mounds of old that purportedly contain the earthly remains of some heros of lore. Some of these have become shrines, with adventurers and pilgrims voyaging to lay hands on the stone piles, seeking guidance, blessings, or simply seeking.
No Vacancy - The Land of Willows is a small valley, not a massive region. The PCs are faced with the problem that they cannot find a suitable place to inter the body of the hero. Do they upset a lesser caern to inter their friend?
Its Religion Stupid - The attendants of the shrines do not approve of the plan to bury the hero. Acting as masters of the valley, the attendants claim that he was lacking in renown to be buried in the valley. The PCs must recount his tales, and convince the attendants otherwise. Combat is possible, but attacking shrine attendants might be a bad idea, with the other adventurer pilgrims on the scene.
Road-Block - An evil necromancer plans to steal the body of the hero to raise it as a undead swordmaster! The body must be recovered, and properly laid to rest.
If it isnt the King of Thieves - Grave robbers decide to loot the body of its grave goods (IE possible magical armor, magic items, and a very keen sword, something real nice). The PCs have to fend them off until they reach the Land of Willows where the grave robbers will be afraid to loot.
Inspired by the song Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss.